By Ezinne Mgbeahuruike, Contributor
With new bars and restaurants opening regularly, it’s always a good idea to spend time exploring the ever-changing food scene. Elliot Contributor Ezinne Mgbeahuruike compiled a list of innovative places to visit for a delicious drink, comfortable ambiance, and of course, great food. From Manhattan to Brooklyn, these New York City restaurants are sure to please your tastebuds.
1. Bar Moga
Bar Moga, located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, is a cocktail bar inspired by the figure of the moga, or “modern girl,” that emerged in early 20th century Japan. The bar’s focus is on cocktails, many of which feature shochu as an ingredient and incorporate traditional Japanese spirits into recipes inspired by those of the American prohibition era. The wine list features predominantly female winemakers, and many of the spirits come from female distillers, or companies in which women play a key role. There is also a small bar food menu, featuring Japanese Yoshoku cuisine – East meets West comfort food – that became popular during the same time period.
Analogue is a craft cocktail and jazz bar located on historic West 8th Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Owners Jared Gordon and Jesse Wilson opened Analogue in 2013 with the goal of rebelling against the homogenization of New York while offering a respite from the frenzied digital world. While the bar boasts an extensive whiskey, bourbon and Scotch selection, along with house-made syrups, tinctures, bitters and shrubs, it continues to propound the philosophy that serious drinks don’t have to be taken too seriously — shedding pretense in favor of personality. A snapshot out of history, Analogue’s aesthetic mirrors that of a simpler time and aims to help us escape from the non-stop digital world.
3. The Loyal
The Loyal is chef and restaurateur John Fraser’s sophisticated neighborhood brasserie in Manhattan’s West Village inspired by his love of the American tavern. Fraser is Chef to Narcissa, Narcbar and two Michelin-starred restaurants, Dovetail and Nix. The menu at The Loyal is built for comfort: simple dishes grounded in Fraser’s trademark technique. The bar features a concise cocktail list by Salvatore Tafuri and a selection of easy-drinking affordable wine by beverage director Amy Racine. Designed by home studios, the room blends the traditional and romantic motifs of European bistros with the high-energy allure of Downtown Manhattan. The Loyal is the new West Village gem, evoking a feeling of casual indulgence with the warmth of your favorite local spot.
Gloria is a warm and elegant pescatarian restaurant located at 401 West 53rd Street in Hell’s Kitchen. Gloria’s partners have drawn from their collective experiences and backgrounds from California and France to create a unique restaurant with a singular point of view that is accessible, delicious and convivial. The menu at Gloria is fish and vegetable forward, inspired by the culture of Chef Diego Garcia’s coastal Mexican and Napa, California upbringing and his past work at Le Bernadin and Contra. The restaurant favors wild, local fish from the North Atlantic, responsibly procured from trusted purveyors that specialize in flavorful, sustainable seafood. The beverage program features an exciting selection of natural wines from France that offer excellent value, as well as a selection of wines from new natural California producers, in addition to a curated list of locally-brewed beers and creative cocktails.
5. Selamat Pagi
Selamat Pagi (“good morning” in Indonesian) serves traditional Indonesian-inspired dishes 7 nights a week, with brunch on weekends. The kitchen uses sustainable organic local grass-fed meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, and produce to create seasonal vegan and vegetarian dishes. Expect to taste lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaf, galangal, turmeric, coconut oil and lots of chili. The Selamat Pagi team is led by executive chef Mateusz Wlodarski and general manager Taylor Vaught. Based in Brooklyn, Selamat Pagi is owned and operated by the team behind Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream.
Brigitte is a French restaurant with a touch of Brazilian flair nestled within the frénésie of Manhattan’s Two Bridges neighborhood. It merges the ethereal beauty of France with the downtown edge and kinetic energy of New York City. The restaurant’s name, a nod to French actress Brigitte Bardot, is intended to celebrate independent and fearless women with a zest for life. The 53-seat eatery’s atmosphere personifies the balance of female strength and grace, and evokes an effortlessly chic, old Mediterranean bâtisse, with excellent service, food, drinks, and music.